Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year = New Quilters

Whether you are just beginning to quilt or wanting to master your basic quilting skills.  This blog post will help.

Supplies:  You might think a needle, some thread, and fabric are all that you need but these days - there are many more gadgets and tools you could use to help!  Below are some of the basics supplies that really won't cost much, especially if you take advantage of chain store coupons, and quilting app e-coupons available on your phone .

Cutting Mat - these mats have grid lines on them to assist you in cutting accurately when you're measuring your pieces.  They also protect the surface you are cutting on and and help keep your blade sharp.  Make sure to get a mat that's self-healing (i.e. it'll "come back to life" in your bath tub with a little TLC when it's used for many years or on several projects).  We recommend an average 18"x 24" mat for beginners.

Cutting Table - you'll need space to lay out your fabrics and blocks.  Many quilters to this day take over their dining table for cutting and sewing on and they even use their floor to see their progress if they don't have a design wall.

Fabric - beginners will likely choose fabrics from a stash or some already selected for a project they have in mind.  If your fabric is cheap, the woven threads will eventually come undone along with all of your hard work.  Keep in mind the general rule is 100% cotton.  Understanding Fabric Grains

Iron (and board or mat) - your basic everyday iron and board is fine but if you are able to, dedicate your own ironing board and iron to quilting and even splurge on a wider-quilting one if you can for approximately $25.  Pressing The Proper Way

Pins - most prefer long straight pins with flat plastic heads as they are easiest to grab and pull out or move while sewing.

Rotary Cutter - known for sharp blades and if you aren't paying attention will slice off part of your thumb or index finger.  Cuts your fabric quickly and accurately.  If you visit local quilt shops, they'll let you test drive some cutters so you can choose the one that fits your hand.  They are available in different sizes but we recommend a regular/medium-sized one.  Rotary Cutting Safety Tips

Rulers - not your average 12" school room ruler.  We're talking about those plastic rulers with grid markings on them to assist you in alignment.  Most suggest a longer ruler 5" or 6" x 24" to help you cut your fabric on your cutting mat and then a shorter ruler 5" or 6" x 12" for those smaller pieces/blocks.

Scissors - since you'll mostly be using your rotary cutter for larger pieces, get some fabric cutting only scissors for your quilting projects.  When you cut paper with scissors it dulls the blade.  So keep a pair just for quilting and another pair for cutting paper (patterns).  You'll want to trim threads or small pieces of fabric and it's nice to keep them next to your sewing machine.

Seam Ripper - the more the merrier!  We all make mistakes and you're always looking for your seam ripper so get more than one.

Sewing Machine  - you don't need an expensive machine to get started but you do need it to sew a 1/4" seam allowance with a straight stitch and a walking foot is pretty awesome.

Thread - 100% cotton is the general rule again.  If the thread is cheap, it'll most likely break and clog your machine with lint.  Good idea to get basic colors along with a lot of white, beige, and grey.

Easy Beginner Quilt Projects
Quilting on a Budget

Terms:  "I successfully finished my WOW BOM UFOs in 2015!"  Better known as jibber-jabber.  Here are some links to terms, definitions, and abbreviations used in the quilting world.